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Help with men's stiff collars (detachable)

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion - Ask Questions Get Answers' started by Liz Turner, May 24, 2015.

  1. Liz Turner

    Liz Turner Registered Guest

    Hi there - hope someone can give me some advice please? I've a vast quantity of men's stiff shirt collars (detachable types that need collar studs). Many of them are rather grubby and need a clean and I'm not sure how, if at all, is the best way to do this. Does anyone know? I'm not sure of the ages - I would hazard a guess they are probably 1960s.

    Is there any way of dating men's collars at all?

    They are part of our am-dram costume store which is having a major sort out with many items being offered for sale so I may be asking other questions too I'm afraid.

    Any advice gratefully received - this seems a fantastic site - only just joined and here I am asking questions already!
  2. Pinkcoke

    Pinkcoke Alumni

    The stiff collars can't be washed because they are starched which dissolves in water - when cleaned they are re-starched and pressed on a special mold to keep the ideal shape - this is something done by a traditional dry cleaner only now.
    I've only had them with light marks to the edges etc. and sold as is. I would sort out those that may pass without close inspection for selling as is as a lot of mine went for performance rather than everyday wear and they won't be put off by a bit of dirt.
    You could then negotiate a price for cleaning based on the large quantity you have with a dry cleaner.
  3. Liz Turner

    Liz Turner Registered Guest

    Thank you Melanie - that's really annoying! I'd hoped if I soaked them in the wonder that is Vanish(!) then re-starched them that might do the trick but possibly not. Good idea about grading them by 'dirt' - yes I would anticipate these being sold for performance who may be more accomodating.

    As a matter of interest, are most people on here from the States (I'm UK)? Liz
  4. Pinkcoke

    Pinkcoke Alumni

    I think the largest proportion of users are from the US, also some Australian, Canadian, UK and a few from other european countries. I am also from the UK. (where else do you still find men's stiff collars? :D)

    You could always take the worst offender and try a home starch, but I understand you need the boiling type not a spray can or other.
  5. Liz Turner

    Liz Turner Registered Guest

    oh yes ... good point! I've got a whole box full of them, but am actually only going to keep a few to go with our collarless shirts as .... they're pretty uncomfortable to wear!
  6. Pinkcoke

    Pinkcoke Alumni

    We have a lot of leftover food/drink thickener from when my grandfather needed it - I've always wanted to have a go re-starching something with that as it is essentially a dry granular starch.
  7. Vinclothes

    Vinclothes Alumni +

    I don't know about in UK, but in the US. detachable collars for men's shirts were most worn in the first few decades of the 1900's.
  8. sewingmachinegirl

    sewingmachinegirl VFG Member

    Hi Liz,
    I have dealt with these types of collars a lot, both in my theatre work, and also for sale. I have some from the 1920'-30s- as well a s 1950s.
    In Australia we used to have a specialist cleaner called The Collar Man, who cleaned these collars for theatre companies and formal/legal clients.

    You may be able to find a similar specialist cleaner there in the UK. I would try ringing The Old Vic or other theatre companies and talk to the wardrobe staff.

    I have also had some success using alcohol free baby wipes to lift any light dust off them. I would however sell as is, as its much easier,and less risky.

    Hope you get good money for them,
  9. Liz Turner

    Liz Turner Registered Guest

    Thanks - may try the baby wipes. Also ... will probably sell as is. Was thinking £2 per collar - buy 2 get one free - I have 73 to sell!
  10. jauntyrooster

    jauntyrooster Alumni

    Just to clarify, these CAN be washed but it is probably more a question of SHOULD they be washed. Many of the gents who wear these are used to handling the washing/cleaning on their own. They have either figured out how to make it work on their own or they know where to send them. I have actually washed some and still sold them and also sold some "as-is." I believe there are still a few cleaners in UK who handle these...I will see if I can track down the information for you just in case you decide you want to give it a try. As you might suspect they don't hold huge value although some styles and sizes are worth more than others. I agree with Gayle that you are likely best selling as is. Good luck!!
    Last edited: May 30, 2015
  11. Pinkcoke

    Pinkcoke Alumni

    I've seen them new prefolded in flat packets sold in the UK up to the 70s! The stiff pre formed collars are still available to buy new today in Britain.
  12. Liz Turner

    Liz Turner Registered Guest

    Thanks for the info Maureen and Melanie

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